Common Cause Lauds Reform to LA Matching Funds: Super Match will be More Accessible to Grassroots Candidates 

LOS ANGELES – Today the Los Angeles City Council approved a major reform that will make matching funds more accessible to all candidates running for city office. The amendment, introduced by Councilmember Mike Bonin and seconded by Councilmembers Paul Koretz and David Ryu, lowers the amount that City Council and Citywide candidates need to raise to qualify for the $6 to $1 public matching funds. 

City council candidates would need to raise $11,400 of qualifying contributions from in-district residents, down from $20,000, to qualify to receive matching funds. A second component in Tuesday’s ordinance would require matching funds candidates to participate in a debate and would allow candidates to conduct a town hall if their opponents do not agree to debate.   

California Common Cause supports lowering the qualifying to the equivalent of 100 contributions of $114 — the maximum amount that is matched under the program – because it is a reachable goal that allows grassroots candidates to demonstrate their viability and access funds earlier in their campaigns. In addition, we believe the debate component will improve voter engagement. 

The vote count was 12 to 1. A final vote on the ordinance will be schedule after the summer recess. 

Statement from Rey Lopez Calderon, executive director of California Common Cause: 

“Our city government should be of, by and for Angelenos – not for wealthy special interests. The reforms passed today take us in that direction.”  

“A lower qualifying threshold, coupled with the higher matching rate that went into effect in January, will reduce barriers for grassroots candidates to run for office and incentivize our future city council to stay close to their constituents. 

“Increasing the influence of small donors is not enough to restore balance to our election system. The City Council must also limit the influence of real estate developers and other special interest donors. Only then will we pave the way for a government that is accountable to everyday Angelenos.”